Monday, August 18, 2008

tough market or bad choice of show(s)?

So when i tried for a particular big time handmade craft show a few months ago, I got the feedback that the circles I used in the pendants are not handmade so they cannot accept the applicaiton even though I explained that I am in the process of replacing all of them with handmade ones even as we speak. I felt bad but also gave me determination to replace all the pieces except the chains themselves with handmade things - pendants, links, rings you name it. I felt all good about it and with the new line of "Silpi", handmade sculpture pendants with beads threaded and coiled I thought I am finally ready for any handmade shows. So I go for San Francisco gift fair with all the pride in the world and got shocked to learn that 'handmade' doesn't exactly need to mean 'handmade everytime'. You can make one pendant or shape and cast it and its still considered 'handmade'. I got advise from fellow designers to do just that to get the price even lower. So, its a compromise between mass produced by machines and literally handmake every piece. i am not sure I am ready to do that yet but felt cheated somehow. The SF show didn't go well as I wanted but learnt a thing or two about the market.

I signed up to go to Las Vegas ASD/AMD show fully expecting it to be a 'wholesale' only show and with the assurances from the organizers that there are other 'similar' vendors coming. Two days before the show the organizers call and say the fine jewelry section of the show which is what I signed up for is 100% filled with diamonds and platinum and what the hell am I doing in that part of the show!!!!! I refused to be moved to the other section of the show they have which I felt is filled with mass produced and really low price jewelry with almost no handmade ones. They reluctantly agree to leave me in the fine jewelry section warning me that next year if I want to come to the show I have to go to the fashion/costume jewelry section and will not be allowed in fine jewelry (even though 25% of my collection has 18k or 14k gold with precious stones and black diamonds).

But by then warning bells are ringing in my mind that this might yet be another wrong show I picked trusting the organizers to tell me the truth. Ofcourse there isn't a single vendor in the fine jewelry section who has anything but "manufactured" stuff and mostly with diamonds. And i also observed that the only booths that were busy at the show were actually doing "retail" in the wholesale show. On talkign to a few people I was enlightened that atleast in that particular show, as long as 10% of the products they have are for wholesale (or a single 4 or 6ft glass showcase full), they can sell any other items for retail!!!!

Is there a secret manual that I am missing here? How can I compete in handmade section for prices with people who can cast them and provide at lower price or in a wholesale show where people can sell 90% of the inventory in retail!. Since its expected, most of the buyers were there for retail, not the right type of buyers I was looking for. There was a company from china which was selling rings or earrings with 14k gold and a single small stone for $15 - $25!!!. It probably will cost me that much in raw materials if I want to make them handmade. Considering everything I didn't do that a couple of good accounts, and a couple of good leads who are starting new boutiques in LA and SF but the point is that's not enough to keep me in the business for long. I really learnt about some of the nuances of the business the very hard way - a few thousand dollars worth indeed...

I really enjoy working with metal, shaping, fusing, soldering, texturing you name it. But I am at a loss and don't have the courage to try any more shows at this time:)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

SFIGF shows starts...

well, it started yesterday. I should post (take the pictures first) pictures soon but the booth looks way way better than the ones I had last year. After searching for months, I came across linen displays (necklace busts, earring holders etc) which were offered by Rio Grande. Ordered one sample to look and feel...really liked them but ended up waiting for maybe 4 weeks before decided to place an order and.....just a week before that they discontinued the whole series!!!! don't even have any of the models I want left to ship...I am soooo disappointed and there is no one else in the entire internet world that provide linen displays!!!! I searched for a couple of days and ended up ordering white leatherette displays. Put them on a dark brown thick cotton cloth for contrast. All the 14k and 18k jewelry went into a lockable showcase again with the brown cloth at the bottom. Sprinkled a few semi precious stones around for sparkle:)

It was an ok day at the show. Towards the end of the day a couple of people came in and said they came for a different section of the show but their jewelry buyer is coming in on tuesday. They looked at all the pieces and said "you are the finest jeweler we have seen in the show". Such a great complement...hope I will get a good big order too:)

more on the show later.....btw, I am blogging from the show today:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

curves and designs

Found a few designs online instead of scanning my sarees to show where my inspiration for the sculptural designs are coming from..

I have a similar saree like this purple one - with all cuves embroidered..and they definitely inspired me to make some of the shapes I haev in this new collection. I used Fine silver in some of the designs and Sterling silver in some others.

As I mentioned before Mango shape is one of the most used shape especially in silk sarees.

This shape inspired a few earrings ...basic mango shape but with the two tips curved away from each other.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kuukivi at Nolcha Fashion Week

No we are not on runway but will have a presence at the Nolcha Fashion week one whole day and display all the new gorgeous designs from Kuukivi. Nocha is for all the emerging designers like me. Although the main focus is on the apparel, jewelry and handbags definitely take their place in the show. I have been a member of Nolcha for more than a year now and decided to participate in the show and thus debuting Kuukivi designs in NY for the first time...

Here's another design that will make its way into all the three shows....Its simple but have enough color and metal to catch the eye

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kuukivi participating in ASD/AMD show

we will be at the fine jewelry section of ASD/AMD show in Las Vegas in Aug. I am excited to participate in this show. With these two shows, Kuukivi enters the fine jewelry market now and into future.

this morning someone asked me about the design I posted did i get into those designs....I have a couple of paintings from India, especially from Rajasthan. Beautiful paintings made with gemstones crushed into powder. The drawing is actually on the glass (inside ofcourse)and different colro gemstones are crushed and applied to the painting probably with some special glue. That inspired me a lot and I wanted to do something like that but on pure silk cloth but with precious and semi-precious beads.

well, I experimented with a few in the year before starting Kuukivi. But the pure silk cloth I had from India was beautiful but delicate..too delicate to hold the weight of the gemstones. since starting Kuukivi I kept thinking how to get similar designs in smaller scale as pendants....I experimented with different types of wires and beads but since I wasn't doing much metal work initialy, I experimented with limited shapes. Figured out its much easier to work with fine silver wire for these sculptures than sterling silver. Now that I work with metal, I have all the freedom in the world to come up with different shapes.

This one here is a very special shape for me. In India, this is called a "young mango shape". Everywhere you see - hangings for the walls to borders on sarees, this shape is part of our everyday life so ofcourse I had to do this one. As time permits, I want to promote this shape with different color stones and maybe one in just greens to actually make it a young mango:)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

going green is more expensive!

I ordered a fabric banner to use as a backdrop for my booth at San Francisco International Gift Fair...and out of the options available, I picked recycled fabric - to start using "green" materials as much as possible and add jewelry line with green silver and gold as business grows. But the surprising thing is the recycled fabric is more expensive than the normal fabric (normal!!-- I meant the regular fabric we use everyday). oh well...maybe if enough of us start using it and recycle stuff, it might come down someday:)

I am excited and looking forward for the show. The booth number is 6306 in the Handmade section. I will be introducing 14k, 18k and 22k gold collection along with really cool sterling silver's one that will in the new product displays at the show..

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Evaluating, and re-evaluating...

Have been spending quite a bit of time evaluating the past year of Kuukivi's life and re-evaluating/prioritizing. Which area to focus for the future Well, instead of beign everywhere, decided to just focus on fine jewelry as a bit complex designs are what I really enjoy designing and creating. But also add more metal work to the vibrant gemstones. I realized I really do love working on metal almost as much as love working with gemstone beads and wrapping them into perfect combinations.

We will be at San Francisco International Gift Fair end of July in handmade section...debuting fine jewelry collection including a couple of pieces with beautiful black diamond drops!!

Here's one of the simple but striking pendant with a oversize quartz rock in the center. The pendant is thick 12gauge SS wire hand formed into shape, hammered and slightly textured and connected to SS chain with Smokey Quartz roundelles.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kuukivi is Trendi...

Trendi is a brand new site or as they call it "ultimate place to find fashionable clothing and accessories". Its a pretty cool site with cool features. you can pick your collection, vote on designs (magic or tragic or somewhere in between) to form the trend or simply browse products and make a list you would love to have (or have to have). Its quite different from lot of other fashion sites around.

Kuukivi is honored to be picked among the first phase of companies to be included into Trendi launch. Quite a few of Kuukivi designs are on Trendi voting list now and I am extremely happy to say that most of the designs are making into the "Magic" side of the trendi (meaning lot of people are voting it high and adding them to their online collection/wish lists). Some of the designs that became magic include "Peacock", "Maala", my favorite "Dream", almost all the multi-layer designs. Check them out on Kuukivi or Trendi.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I haven't blogged in quite a while. One of the reasons being to see if it will stop the spam comments I have been getting on the blog. Everytime there is a new blog, in a few hours, there are comments with a link to click which goes to some spam site. Got tired of deleting them often (and another one comes back when I delete) so thought if I don't add new blog posts for a little while, maybe, hopefully this site will get out of their range. I really don't want the readers to click on one of those awful spam sites by mistake.

And I have been taking classes learning new skills. When I created the circle designs for the summer collection, I used pre-made rings knowing that really soon I will be able to create them really really soon. now I am all ready with new shapes and designs all handcrafted by me finally:) realized that I really love working with all these tools and the satisfaction of seeing them integrated into my designs is just soo good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

tax week

ofcourse even though we know this week is tax week, quite a few of us put it till the last minute and in my case actually filed for an extension:) but atleast did all the preliminary work and so can concentrate on other things like blogging....starting tomorrow:)

until then.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, April 4, 2008

earrings coming this weekend

a few of the earrings that will be online this weekend. I started working with hoops and they are lot of fun to work with. ofcourse there are a few circle shape earrings too but I love this gold filled hoops with a big green onyx drops.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Style and Dream collections online..

Finally got the designs online. Not 100% satisfied with all images but most of them came out good. Changed the image size (thumb nail and the big images) but the old ones are still a bit small. Still need to work on those tomorrow. Couldn't get the half dozen or so new earring designs online yet. Images came out good. just need to get them on the website..probably by end of tomorrow the rest of the images can be fixed and the earrings come online. Phew!!

This is one of myf avorite "Style" designs with a fancy pendant and the Sapphire drops just fit perfectly into the necklace.

Check out both Style and Dream collections.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Appel&Frank pics

We went to the Appel&Frank show and realized that I forgot the steppers I planned to use to display the designs at different heights and the camera to take pictures. Our neighbor exhibitor Sarah graciously took a few pictures and send them today. Thank you so much Sarah.
That's Savita who came to help me out at the show. Thank you dear

The summer collection that I am still trying to get on the web

Friday, March 21, 2008


Ok Ok..when I said this years summer designs are all about circles (and multi layers), I included oval drops (and rectangles and rhombuses) shapes too into the category...Here's one design that has two Silver drop shaped rings connected to the chain. A natural red coral hanging in between and a few rectangle coral beads on just one side to make it modern yet give a tinge of color and brightness.
have a nice weekend and a great Easter everyone...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

as seen in "What Designers"

What Designers is an online shopping guide with focus products that are contemporary/modern aesthetic. Kuukivi is one of the jewelry designs that got into the spring guide. Ofcourse the design chosen was "Mohini" .

The shopping guide has quite a few unique items and not just in jewelry. I loved the BEEBEE Mod tees for kids

Thank you all of you for supporting independent designers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oceanbreeze....another summer design

My favorite circle design which took quite a while to get the design exactly to what I envisioned a few months ago. It has been sitting on a sketch just because i was missing a few tiny iolite drops to add the tinge of dark blue into it. It has about 70 gemstones handwrapped individually from seablue chalcedony long drops to tiny iolite drops with Pearls and a whole lot more in between.
Still hoping to get these designs online by end of tomorrow...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

3 layered necklace..

one of the multi layer necklaces from summer design collection. I thought I will finish photographing and editing and post on the website this weekend but had to take the weekend easy and not work much. And I still need some practice on focusing (as you can tell from this picture) so it might be a little while longer till they get on the website.

This is a gold-filled necklace with 3 different styles of chain. The first and innermost is very thin chain with solid rectangle pieces connected to a single faceted chalcedony bead horizantally. The middle layer has three different types of stones (19 in total) namely hessonite garnet, spessarite and garnet with a citrine right smack in the middle. The outermost chain has another chalcedony bead connected vertically. This bead has ofcourse three drops hanging one of them is green apatite to just add a tinge of green to the entire necklace.

The necklace just look stunning with all the drops sparkling away and the colors complement the gold filled chains really well. I really loved working on it and it came out just the way I envisioned it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

spring breeze...another summer design

hehe, yes the name says spring breeze and it is part of Kuukivi summer design. what can I say:) walking everyday with my 2 yr old amongst lot of trees that just started to get new leaves while yellow pollen with white petals flying around everytime there is a slight breeze is such an inspiration for mind and heart.

And like I mentioned in the previous blog, this summer collection is about circles and multi layers...this one is another circle focused design. The handmade hammered center circle has a beautiful long Green Onyx drop and I don't know which is complementing which. Around that there's a bountiful of gems - Emeralds with their rich green color, citrine with its cool yellow color and ofcourse tiny pearls with aquamarine beads...just love the color combination and this chain goes so perfectly with everything.

Monday, March 10, 2008

cool summer designs coming...

Started the photographing stage for the new designs...Last summer/Fall was about designs with exotic pendants from India. This summer its all about multi-layer designs and circles....Here is one of the designs that will be unveiled at Appel&Frank event this thursday.

Lots of beautiful moonstone drops, Hessonite garnet in different shades, green apatite drops (in total 30+ drops) handwrapped to this beautiful thick chain and 5 Silver rings spaced evenly into the necklace with one of them in the center of the pendant hanging down.

Will try to blog about one design every night this week and hoping to get all of them on the website by next monday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kuukivi jewelry now available thru

I am excited to announce that Kuukivi designs are now available thru The Succulent Wife . The Succulent Wife promotes women artists who wish to convert their creative passions into income-producing enterprises. Anne-Marie Kovacs, founder of The Succulent Wife is one of very diligent people I have met. I like her tagline for the company "An artist-featured gift company".

She has a great collection of gift items including jewelry. I know there are quite a few websites out there which are focused on finding the perfect gift for anyone but this is one of the few websites where you feel there is a personal touch in the items she selected. And I am very happy Kuukivi is part of that family too now:)

I have been keeping my head down and work on the Summer collection to get it out by mid-March and online by end of 3rd week or so. So, blogging has been neglected a bit again but ofcourse I have to share the good news

On another note, got a new SLR camera and have a small help session tomorrow(I love Wolf camera folks...I got the camera for a great price and they help with technical stuff too) setting up white balance and will try out pictures this weekend and post some of the upcomign designs:)

Monday, February 18, 2008

woes of shopping cart:(

Well, for the first time, signed up for an online trunk show with SheFinds thinking now that I am back in US, I should start getting the name out more and build internet sales. Well, with moving just about a month ago and with the flu seasons and what nots and overconfidence that every shopping cart will have a feature to offer discount codes, I completely forgot about checking into the shopping cart I use if they actually do offer the feature. And ofcourse in the last second possible realized that it doesn't!!. Literally the only option available now is to change the shopping cart of the website! While its not a bad idea to do that, I can't do it in a day or two...takes a couple of weeks in development and then testing before putting it on a live site!!!. I got sooo royally screwed (pardon my french).

I am hoping the customers wont' get completely put off by this and send me an email with the order # and the discount code so I can promptly give them the discount. To show my appreciation for being understanding and patient, I am sending a gift certificate for $20 for any future purchases (Yes, the current shopping cart does take gift certificates:)).

I reallly want to get the spring/summer collection and the wedding collection out on time as planned (towards end of March) so decided against my better judgement to leave the shoppign cart as is and take it up a couple of months later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Calling all designers...for D4A's first auction of 2008

It's D4A's first auction of the year!.
When: March 27
Whom: The South Sudanese Center
Cause: Build wells in Sudan to provide drinking waterBenefit: apart from that great feeling of being part of the great cause, your company's name will get more audience, your logo and link to your website will be placed in D4A website, list of companies with a small blurb will be published in D4A blog.

The last auction in Oct 2007 was a huge success and managed to raise enough funds for turnabout pump which is bringing safe water to a school of over 1,200 in Uganda. This time there are even more designers participating but we can use more designers to raise even more money to help with the cause.

It doesn't need to be your hottest design. Even designs from the last holiday season would be a great contribution.
Please send an email to or me ( to sign up.

We are trying to get more press for the event too. And there is a good possiblity of having some celebrities attendign the event!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

wintery wedding necklace unveiled

I know I blogged about this beautiful Wedding necklace I was custom designing for a friend in Tampere, Finland. Well, that was the last piece I worked there before moving back to California. well, design was done before but altering the length and add a beautiful back to match the wedding dress got done last.

Since its a winter wedding, the necklace has lot of moonstones to represent snowy white ice with a long almost 2cm long moonstone drop in the center. small balls with tiny crystals are added to give that extra sparkle just like the snow flakes in sunlight. All of these handwrapped to a tiny curved chain.

And introducing Kuukivi signature back for wedding necklaces...Especially with a wedding dress with low back, small pearls each individually handwrapped and connected to any wedding necklace design, it will give a classic look. Ofcourse just 4 blue sapphire beads just around the clasp takes care of that little"something blue" ...

unfortunately there wasn't enough time there to find professional photographer to get this pictured so just blogging it with pictures taken from my tiny digital camera.

Kuukivi wedding designs will be unveiled end of March....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Back on blogging

sorry about the looong break. Moved back to California, took some time to set up everything including internet, survived yet another attack of flu and finally all ready to go....Flight with a toddler was quite an experience but little Manu was a great trooper..just wanted to play and not sleep:)

Had a good trunk show today, first one after returning. One of my friends arranged it and it was fun meeting new customers, watching reactions. It was good testing ground for new designs and the one drop career women collection that I am gettign geared up to release next month. Thank you Savita.

I think I can add a few new designs to the website this week but need to get the rest photographed soon. For eg: This is the first design that got sold today and a potential order for another one of these in Sterling Silver in summer from the same customer. When she tried out the necklace, it just looked beautiful, gorgeous all rolled into one on her.

But the picture shows one of the stones not in proper place and chain not exactly how it shoudl be and hence not on the website yet. While I was thinking of sticking to 2 layers max in a necklace, customers today told me they really like this design and would like to see more of these.....I love to hear feedback like that. Same customer wanted custom designed earrings to go with the necklace. We designed on the spot together and I think they will go perfect with this gorgeous necklace.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A perfect "Fusion" design

While Kuukivi has designs that are appealing for different generations and different categories of women, this particular design has stolen hearts of 3 different generations and three different categories in two different continents.

(a) Teenage girls loved the simple yet modern look of the design. I had parents buying it for their daughter's graduation party last summer.

(b) 30+ career women working in different industries loved the same design for its simple beauty and elegance. This is a design that you can wear to office easily and for an outing...all it needs is a change of dress (maybe) :)

(c) 70+ year old grandmoms loved the design for the link chain with the blue chalcedony hanging and the Pearls that are connecting the link chain to the Sterling Silver chain. I just sold one a couple of weeks ago for a grandmom here in Finland for a wedding (her grandson's wedding ofcourse).

3 generations, 3 different careers, 2 different continents - now that's what I call a perfect "recipe" or the perfect "Fusion" design.

Another really cool thing I noticed the other day...recently I sold four different necklaces - Sininen, a very unique necklace that I can't reproduce (Neelamani), Chakra(shown on the left and Quartzy all in a single family to three different generations:) Sininen was for the grandmom (mentioned above), Neelamani was for a young career woman, Chakra and Quartzy are for two sisters who are in a generation between the other two.

Although this is the response I hoped for with my designs, to actually experience it is something amazing altogether. These type of responses is what keeps my inspiration growing.....Thank you everyone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Felicity Huffman to Kuukivi

Yesterday recieved a card from Felicity Huffman with a lovely handwritten note.

"Thank you so much for the stunning earrings and necklace - the coral roses are so feminine and beautiful. I will wear tehm and feel lovely" -- Felicity Huffman

The necklace set name was Gopika with coral roses and Rose Quartz drops hanging from a rectangle coin pearl.

Thank you for the thought and wonderful gesture Felcity. That was a very pleasant surprise. Its always awesome to hear from happy customers:)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kuukivi in ""

I am excited to announce that has chosen Kuukivi to feature in their exclusive online product showcase of women-made products. is geared to provide exposure to small companies such as Kuukivi to wholesale buyers.

Sandra and Stephanie, founders of Mywares pick and review products from around the world and provide them with exposure to wholesale buyers. Especially for people like us who can't afford to go to a lot of tradeshows yet is an awesome venue and the wholesale buyers get to pick products they might otherwise miss.

I am hoping 2008 will prove to be a good starting point for wholesale side of business for Kuukivi..

Sunday, January 6, 2008

getting ready to move, flu..

The new year didn't exactly start off with a positive note. Our baby boy had flu and is still recovering and for the past couple of days, I have been down with flu. Same old symptoms but worried about getting ear infection. Never heard of them till I came to US and never experienced firsthand till I came to Finland but hoping i don't have to go through it again.

Also moving back to US date is coming up..its less than 2 weeks:) We should be back in San Jose,CA on 20th. yay!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

We wish everyone a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR and a warm welcome to 2008. Hope this year brings a little more peace and happiness in everyone's life and a few more sales for us:). In a couple of weeks, we will back home in California and looking forward for it. Haven't scheduled any trunk shows yet as our soon to be 2yr old son will be going through a jetlag phase and mom can in no way be out of line-of-sight till he gets used to the place again.

Hoping to still keep the schedule to launch the Bridal jewelry and one-drop career collection towards end of March just in time for Spring...along with more beautiful anklets to choose for all those beautiful skirts in the wardrobe..